Inside SaaS - June 20th, 2019 |

Inside SaaS (Jun 20th, 2019)

Slack's IPO / Salesforce teases 360-customer platform / Shopify's new AI-powered network

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1. Slack's direct listing is a first-ever for Silicon Valley and marks a shift in IPOs for tech companies. The workplace chat platform is being listed today on the New York Stock Exchange at $26 per share at a valuation of about $15.7 billion, with venture firm Accel -- an early backer of Facebook -- holding a majority 23.8 percent stake. Slack CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield is likely to become a billionaire through his 8.4 percent control of Slack, which has chosen to break from Silicon Valley norms by making a direct listing, a type of IPO where no new shares are listed. This is the model Spotify used when it went public last year. -- CNBC

2. Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan says that the supply and demand in tech is so "out of whack" that the average engineer sees 50 job offers. He told the Irish Times that retaining great tech talent is about striking a balance between company culture and a product that delivers on a mission that modern workers can relate to. Engineers are "more missionary than they are mercenary," Halligan said. He was also dismissed the "myth of the founder," joking about how fast founders can be replaced. -- IRISH TIMES

3. Shopify has announced a new AI-powered fulfillment network that uses machine learning to match orders, route inventory and negotiate rates. Shopify's merchants are set to benefit from speedier shipping and lower-cost shopping. The e-commerce SaaS also unveiled new Shopify Plus features and next-generation Point of Sale (POS) software. Shopify said that the platform now hosts over 820,000 merchants, including 5,300 high-use merchants on Shopify Plus. -- ZDNET

4. Salesforce has outlined a new customer data platform to advance 360-degree customer profiling that will become available this fall. What distinguishes this new platform from a traditional CRM is that it will be able to draw upon data from multiple channels, creating an advanced picture by allowing brands to "unify data and personalize customer engagement at scale," says company president and chief product officer Bret Taylor. -- TECH RADAR

5. Mailchimp has launched an in-house entertainment studio to create original series, films and podcasts. The new venture into entertainment, called Mailchimp Presents, was launched with more than 50 series, including both original and licensed content. The expansion into branded content echoes a similar move made by Shopify earlier this year. Mark DiCristina, Mailchimp's head of brand marketing, said that entertainment content would be "a great vehicle for attracting people to Mailchimp who have never heard of us and maybe don’t need us yet.” -- FAST COMPANY

6. Square now faces heavier competition following Facebook's cryptocurrency play. Considered a pioneer in the fintech space, having launched a decade ago, Square will increasingly be up against new competition as non-fintech companies begin to offer adjacent-banking services and products, such as Facebook's newly launched cryptocurrency Libra. While this might present some short-term headaches for incumbent fintechs, the signal is that in the long term it will be the banks that still suffer the majority of disruption-related pains. -- YAHOO FINANCE

7. Password vault manager LastPass will now allow business customers to store their passwords onshore. The move comes as a response to concerns that even on-device encrypted data may not be safe if stored offshore. At the moment, however, LastPass will only provide the option of basing password data onshore in Australia to Asia-Pacific customers. -- IT WIRE

8. SEO SaaS firm Moz has found that Google's recent diversity update will have little impact. Efforts to limit search engine results pages from repeating for the same websites were only minimal, the company said, adding that "Google has made minor improvements but still has work to do." -- SEARCH ENGINE LAND

9. Cloud-based software provider Veeva Systems is broadening its product portfolio to reach outside its traditional life sciences market. The California-based SaaS is expecting higher growth from its content management products, which now represent half their business. -- FORBES

10. Oracle has added 5,000 trials this quarter for its new cloud database. This growth comes despite a quarter that was underscored by increased layoffs and a continuing decline in hardware sales. However, the company said that it expects to continue shedding off dependence on hardware sales as it moves towards higher-margin cloud-based ERP software. Oracle's stock was up 7 percent in Wednesday trading. -- BUSINESS INSIDER

This newsletter is written and curated by Justin Calderón. Justin is based out of Barcelona, Spain, and has covered technology and SaaS news for a variety of publications, including the BBC and Newsweek. Follow him on Twitter at @justinfuyun

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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